If you are a graphics fan and use Photoshop extensively, you must have noticed several image formats like .jpeg, .bmp, .gif, .tiff, .png, etc. Probably you don’t use all of them, but each of these image extensions have their own purpose and are used by web and print media professionals to fulfill a specific graphic design need.
Let’s discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of these image extensions.
JPEG, or Joint Photographic Experts Group, is the most commonly used image format on the web. JPEG is a compressed size image format that loses a lot of data to keep the image size small. If you take a picture and save it in JPEG format, you will lose several details in the image. During compression, an image loses its sharpness compared to its original. However, JPEG is the most used format for web because it loads fast.
• It has 24-bit color format and offers a staggering support for up to 16 million colors.
• If your image needs to show color details, this is the best format for you.
• Whether you use Mac, Windows or Linux, JPEG is universally compatible.
• Most popular among other image formats.
• It loses sharpness when the image is compressed.
• JPEG creates artifacts.
• JPEG does not support transparency and no option for animation.
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. It supports only 256 colors and offers 8-bit format. GIF images are very small in size and can be used for animation. When you compress an image in GIF format, it reduces number of bits per pixel and clubs variety of colors into one. For example, if your image has five shades of yellow, it will compress and use only one shade of yellow. But GIF is only good for images with fewer or solid colors. If an image has more than 256 colors, it will lose 99.998% of its colors.
GIF can be used for graphics, diagrams, cartoons and logos as these things have fewer colors.
• If you need simple animation, GIF is helpful.
• GIF supports transparency.
• It retains the image quality when compressed.
• If the image has more than 256 colors, converting the image to GIF can cause a lot of damage to original colors.
• It’s a backdated format and image size is larger than PNG.
BMP format is not web friendly and has more disadvantages than advantages. They are mainly for Microsoft Windows. However, these images are high in quality and offer rich and vibrant colors.
• It’s Windows compatible and works in old and new Windows OS.
• BMP images do not compress perfectly.
• It’s very large in size and takes longer time to download.
TIFF is intended for DTP (Desk Top Publishing). The image quality remains excellent even after compression. Whether you want to experiment with low color image or high density image, TIFF handles all of them efficiently.
• You can compress a TIFF image in JPEG, LZW, ZIP, or in any other format if required.
• The richness of color, sharpness all remains the same.
• You can create an image with layers and save it in TIFF.
• It’s very large in size and takes longer time to load.
PNG has all the same characteristics of GIF. It’s a more modern and improved version of GIF. PNG supports grayscale images and 24-bit RGB color images.
• When compressed, PNG retains all the details of an image.
• Compared to GIF, PNG file size is small.
• Transparent images can be handled more efficiently in PNG.
• A huge drawback of PNG is it can’t offer any animation effects.
• PNG is not supported in every browser.
Every image extension has its own share of pros and cons. When you use them, remember your needs to achieve the best result. For example, if you want to design a logo, then TIFF and PNG are the best choices, and if you want your image to be cross-browser compatible, JPEG is the best choice.